Diesel tanker catches fire on Western Express Highway

Fire brigade puts off fire before flames could spread to fuel tank

A diesel tanker caught fire on Western Express Highway (WEH) at 10 a.m. on Monday, but no one was injured in the incident. The fire brigade arrived quickly on the scene and doused the fire before it could spread to the fuel tank. Traffic was diverted on both carriageways briefly, leading to traffic jams and chaos.

The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) diesel tanker (MH 48 AG 1106) belonged to dealer M/s Vishram Service Centre. The tanker was heading from Sewri to Dahisar after filling fuel. The fire started in the driver’s cabin when the vehicle was moving on a flyover in Goregaon (northbound carriageway of WEH). The driver instantly halted the vehicle and got out. He tried to douse the fire using an extinguisher. When he failed, he called the fire brigade.

When the fire brigade reached the spot at 10.12 a.m., the fire had engulfed the cabin and tyres of the vehicle. Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire officer, said, “The biggest challenge was managing the traffic. We had to drive our fire engines on the wrong side of the lane for a few metres to reach the spot. We used two high pressure first aid lines and one small hose to douse the fire.”

Highway cordoned off

The traffic police cordoned off about 100 m of the highway on both sides. DCP Sandeep Bhajibhakre (traffic) (western suburbs) said, “We initially shut both carriageways when there was danger of the fire spreading to the tank. After it was doused, we resumed traffic on one side and later on the other. Those were tense moments for us as our staff was near the tanker.” The incident led to a traffic jam on WEH for an hour. People took to social media to share news of being stuck in traffic.

A BPCL statement said, “The product [diesel] is intact, safe and there is no damage to the tank side of the lorry … The tank has been towed to a safe place with a crane under supervision of BPCL officers and police and is being emptied out.” The tank was emptied before being towed away. The fuel was taken away in another tanker. BPCL will also be conducting an inquiry to check if there was any lapse on the driver’s part.

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